If you are a fan of Claude Monet, Giverny is the place to go. It is true that Paris boasts some of the best museums to learn about Monet and the Impressionism in general, like Orly Museum or Musée Marmottan-Monet. However, Impressionism is all about “plein air” (painting outdoors) so there’s no better place to enjoy the Impressionism than where the artists set their easels to paint their masterworks. If you have a spare day in your Paris itinerary and the weather is good, we definitely recommend a day trip to Giverny from Paris to visit Monet’s garden and house.
MONET’S GARDEN AND HOUSE IN GIVERNY
After some years in Paris, Monet and his family moved to Giverny in 1883, when the artist was 43. Finally, his paintings were selling well and he had enough money to buy an old construction in the little town of Giverny in the region of Normandy where he believed he could work better on the light and color. During 40 years and until his death, Monet arranged, rearranged and enlarged this house, where he died in 1926. Monet’s house is world famous especially for the water lily pond, where Monet painted his world famous water-lilies. Monet’s water lilies and Japanese bridge are the most popular things to see in Giverny but of course, there is much more to visit.
READ MORE – follow Monet’s steps in Paris and around
BEST TIME TO VISIT MONET’S GARDEN, GIVERNY
What is the best time to visit Monet’s garden, Giverny? Monet’s house and garden in Giverny are closed during the winter. Monet’s estate opens its doors with the spring, from 23 March to 1st November. For most visitors, the visit of Monet’s house is focused on the gardens which will be more exuberant or less depending on the season.
» In spring, two of the emblematic trees in Monet’s garden, the apple tree, and the cherry tree, start to bloom
» In June the first water-lilies start to wake up to reach their full bloom in July.
» Visit Giverny gardens in October for its amazing fall colors.
HOW TO GET TO GIVERNY FROM PARIS
Compared to other day trips from Paris, like Versailles Palace and Gardens or the medieval town of Provins, the small town of Giverny is not that easy to reach by public transportation. But with a bit of planning, everything is possible and whatever option you choose we are sure you will have an awesome day in Giverny. Here’re the most common ways to visit Giverny on a day trip from Paris.
Paris to Giverny by car
Of course, the car is the best option to visit Giverny. By car, you can go from Paris to Giverny directly in only 55 min (74km distance, cost of 8 to 13€ in fuel). On the way, you can also decide to visit other beautiful small towns near Paris like La Roche-Guyon or Les Andelys, or extend your trip to Etretat and transform your Giverny trip into a weekend getaway from Paris. If you don’t have your own car we don’t recommend to rent a car only for a Giverny tour. However, if you have other excursions in mind or Paris is the starting point of your France road trip, add an extra day of car rental and visit Giverny by car.
If you need to rent a car, we recommend Avis car rental. Avis is a world known company with good cars and good service. Avis FR has offices in all the airports in Paris, in the main train stations in Paris and many more agencies spread around Paris to choose. In addition and for only a small fee, you can pick up your car in a Paris office and return it in a different office in Paris or France.
OUR TIP: Giverny is located in the West of Paris. Avoid the hassle to cross the city and save time by choosing the Avis agencies located in La Madelaine in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris or Paris Porte Maillot Gare France.
Visit Giverny by train + bus
Unfortunately, there is no direct train from Paris to Giverny but this does not mean that a trip to Giverny from Paris by public transportation is not possible, it means that there is a bit of planning.
» At Paris Saint Lazare Station, take the train to Rouen Rive Droite (46-minute journey, hourly).
» Stop at Gare de Vernon-Giverny, exit the train station and walk around 600m to the VTNI 27 bus stop.
» Take line #250, direction Entrepagny, there is only one station, 5 to 10 minutes drive to Giverny. There are only 3 buses daily so don’t miss your bus! You can check the bus schedule here (Vernon Gare SNCF).
»The total cost of your Giverny trip, one way, is 15 to 27€, depending on the train fare you get.
Book a Paris to Giverny tour
A Paris to Giverny tour is a great idea because it avoids all the transportation hassle. Amongst all the Giverny tours, we recommend the independent Giverny tour, with or without audio-guide. This 5-hour tour includes the transportation Paris Giverny and the Giverny tickets. Once in Giverny, the participants can wander the house and gardens on their own for around 2 hours.
Book a Giverny bike tour
Choose this 9-hour tour for some exercise and an awesome ride through the scenic wheat and sunflower fields of the French countryside. The Giverny bike tour includes a bus ride to Vernon, a break for a picnic (own expense), a short stop to visit the cemetery where Monet is buried, and Monet’s garden tickets. Once the tour arrives at Monet’s estate, visitors have 1.5 hours to visit Monet’s house and garden on their own.
Combine Giverny with another day tour
If you want to get the most of your day out of Paris, we recommend combining your Giverny tour with another tour in the surroundings. A popular option of a combined tour is the Versailles Palace + Giverny tour from Paris. However, Versailles Palace and Gardens are so big and there are so many things to see and do that we suggest spending a full day in Versailles during another day. Our favorite combined tours which include Giverny are the following:
» Full day tour to Giverny and Rouen from Paris. A Monet all day tour, to visit his house and the Rouen’s cathedral, so cherished by the artist.
» Full day tour to Giverny and Honfleur to discover two of the most beautiful villages of Normandy.
» Full day tour to Giverny and Auvers-Sur-Oise. Explore the world and source of inspiration of two of the best artists of the last centuries. Auvers-Sur-Oise is where Van Gogh painted his last works and it is a great complement to a Giverny tour.
VISIT MONET’S HOUSE IN GIVERNY
Visitors can enter Monet’s workshop from the living room through a short passage painted blue. The workshop is located on the ground floor and it was originally a barn attached to the house. Monet was so obsessed with light that he made install a glass roof. Years later Monet moved his workshop to another barn not far from the house and this place became a “fumoir” (a lounge-smoker) in which he showed his paintings to his friends and potential clients. This is a very cozy place full of Monet’s paintings displayed on the walls and personal objects.
The rest of the 2-floor house is bright and cozy. On the first floor, there are all the rooms. Monet and his wife slept in different rooms. Monet’s room is simple and with great views over the garden. It is interesting to notice that Monet liked to sleep surrounded by his friends’ paintings: Cézanne, Renoir, Caillebotte, but also Berthe Morizot, Boudin, or Signac.
On the ground floor, there are common rooms like the light and colorful kitchen or the dining room. These rooms look like Monet paintings, where nothing is left to chance.
VISIT GIVERNY GARDENS
Monet acquires the love of plants and gardening by frequenting the gardens of his friends and later working in his own garden at Argenteuil. In Giverny, he models his garden (called the Norman enclosure) to perfection to better paint it. During Monet’s life, there were up to six gardeners working in the artist’s garden at Giverny under his direct supervision. This is proof of the importance that Monet gave to the garden.
Monet arranged squares of perennial flowers playing with their colors for his paintings. He had a passion for tulips and you can find them everywhere, together with agapanthus, nasturtiums, dahlias, irises, wisterias, poppies and peonies. Today, Giverny gardens are kept by 10 gardeners.
MONET WATER LILY POND IN GIVERNY
Monet’s lily pond is the most special part of the Giverny gardens. Monet water lily pond was created by deviating one of the small arms of the Epte river. Monet spent many hours by the pond contemplating the nature and the reflex of the sky on the water. On this water lily pond, he created a surreal world that he translated into his world famous water lilies. Come to see the water lilies from June to August.
IS GIVERNY WORTH VISITING?
YES! The town of Giverny is gorgeous and well worth the trip, especially if you like Monet’s artwork. The artist’s garden at Giverny and especially the water pond are spectacular and it is definitely an excellent way to spend a day out of Paris.
Did we convince you to visit Giverny on a day trip from Paris? 😉
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